Educators at The Mayapple School are directly responsible for making our school a wonderful place. The individuals below each hold an important place at The Mayapple School.
Melissa West (back, center)
Melissa West is a Teacher, Director, and Founder at The Mayapple School, where she shares her love of adventure and the outdoors with students and campers. She holds a B.S. from Radford University for Interdisciplinary Studies and has earned a Virginia teacher’s license for General Education, Pre-K through 6th grade. Previously, Melissa West has worked as a resident camp counselor for Girl Scouts of all ages, an environmental educator, preschool teacher, and farmhand on organic farms. Melissa West grew up on Long Island, New York, and came to the New River Valley after falling in love with the mountains during her thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.
Michelle Finta (first on the right)
Michelle Finta is an Assistant Teacher at The Mayapple School, where she shares her love of the dramatic and musical arts with students, as well as her background in speech and language development. She holds a B.S. from Virginia Tech in Human Development with a minor in Psychology. Previously, Michelle Finta has been an inclusion companion at summer camp for children with special needs and a volunteer at the Pediatric Development Center where she has assisted speech therapists in their daily work.
Jenna Booth (middle left)
Jenna Booth is an Administrative Assistant, Summer Camp Educator, and Substitute Teacher at The Mayapple School. Her “behind the scenes” work keeping The Mayapple School running smoothly is no less appreciated than her “on scene” work interacting with students, campers, and families. She acts as The Mayapple School’s tour guide for prospective student families and is knowledgeable about many facets of The Mayapple School. Jenna has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Roanoke College and was previously a Store Manager for Pier 1 Imports. She lives in Blacksburg with her husband and two sons, both of whom have attended The Mayapple School.
Erika Reid (second on the right)
Erika Reid is a Substitute Teacher at The Mayapple School, where she shares her love of hands-on education with children.
Heather Heins (first on the left)
Heather Heins is a Substitute Teacher at The Mayapple School, where she enjoys guiding children in intentional play and project based learning. She is a Registered Nurse at Lewis Gale Hospital Montgomery, where she has managed care of patients of all ages since 2010. Heather Heins holds Bachelors degrees in Biology and Religion from University of Mary Washington and an Associate Degree in Nursing from New River Community College. She lives in Blacksburg with her husband and two daughters, both of whom have attended The Mayapple School.
Celeste Luna (third on the left)
Celeste Luna is a Substitute Teacher at The Mayapple School, where she shares her gentle spirit and love of observation with students. Celeste Luna holds a Ph. D. in Biology and a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Buenos Aires. Previously, she has been a project coordinator, general coordinator, and graduate researcher at the Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales, a High School Science Teacher, a Nature Story Time Program Assistant at Harvard Museum of Natural History, and Art Camp Assistant at the Blacksburg Community Center. Through her “Celeste Luna Studio,” she makes original artworks of surface pattern and design and animal illustration. Her dream is to write and illustrate her own children’s book.